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Monday October 23, 2000

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Seniors' needs should take precedence

By The Wildcat Opinions Board

Registering for classes next semester, seniors in the College of Business and Public Administration may receive a rude shock. Classes required for their graduation could already be filled with juniors who pre-registered with the college, thanks to the Cohort program. Under this new system, juniors enrolled in the cohort program register before the seniors. Due to limited seats, seniors may end up being pushed out of classes that they need to graduate.

Every college has an obligation to its seniors. A lack of instructors and classrooms to accommodate all of the students that may want to get into a certain class is a valid complaint, and one that many programs have. However, it does not negate the obligation to those that have been studying in the college the longest.

No one can fault the college for the implementation of such a program. In every area of the university, graduation in four years is something that we should strive for. In many cases, especially in an overcrowded college like BPA, the only way to ensure this is to get students into programs that guarantee them places in the courses required for them to complete their studies on time. Unfortunately for the seniors ready to graduate, there is no grandfather clause that gives them, who had no opportunity to participate in the program, registration precedence.

Guaranteeing students seats in required courses is a fine goal. Ideally, there would be enough seats, enough sections and enough classrooms that everyone would be able to take all of the courses they need, and one or two that they want. However, limited resources ensure that this cannot be the case, forcing every college to make decisions about how the seats should be distributed. Under the telephone registration system used by most students at the university, seniors are preceded in their registration only by those students who need special accommodations: athletes and SALT students, for example. This policy recognizes the fact that seniors have a greater claim on those seats than other students, as they should. It's a sound scheme for the distribution of limited resources.

However, the College of Business and Public Administration has found the RSVP system ill-suited to its needs. In a program that has long been semi-autonomous of standard scheduling practices, it may make sense to move away from the computerized telephone-based system. Their newly-implemented program apparently better tracks demand for classes.

In the past, BPA has been lauded for its outstanding advising program - one of the few outstanding advising programs in the university. The college should use it to ensure that all seniors who have the opportunity to graduate on time are afforded every opportunity to do so. The needs of juniors should also, of course, be considered, but not above the needs of those closer to graduation. This program has the potential to smooth the rocky path of many trying to finish up their studies, but it cannot be instituted without full consideration of the responsibilities of the college to the seniors.